Case Studies

Limelight Networks Chooses AppDynamics for Low Overhead Production Monitoring

Industry: SaaS & Technology

Customer Since: 2010

Key Benefits:

  • Reduced MTTR from days to less than an hour
  • Gained visibility into remote URL calls
  • Found production memory leak that threatened app’s stability

Why AppDynamics

  • Low overhead in production compared to other solutions
  • Greater visibility than open source tools
  • Insight into memory utilization and memory leaks

Introduction

Limelight Networks Dynamic Site Platform is the premier Software-as-a-Service Web Content Management (WCM) offering, tightly coupling WCM with website delivery to enable truly affordable dynamic content and website personalization for businesses. Integrating WCM, web delivery and website marketing acceleration across one SaaS platform, Limelight Networks Dynamic Site Platform operates hundreds of business websites and serves thousands of website authors, editors, marketers, producers and developers worldwide.

Challenges

Limelight Networks Dynamic Site Platform offers a template-based WCM solution to its customers which allows them to create custom full-featured websites. While some of its users are non-technical, such as marketers and writers, Limelight also has a community of web developers that tests the limits of its full-fledged templating language. “We provide the functionality and our customers have full control with potential to put a great deal of load on the application,” said Dave Anderson, Senior Systems Engineer in Limelight’s Web Content Management Group. In order to keep Limelight’s Content Management Systems and Site Publishing applications running smoothly, Anderson needed visibility into these applications and what the customer- written code was doing.

Anderson and his team frequently use log files, and in extreme cases, debuggers to troubleshoot performance issues, but they found that these were not very scalable. Before acquiring AppDynamics, Anderson and his team often spent hours and even days tracking down problems in the application. They needed a monitoring solution that would give them visibility into their application without degrading its performance.

Solution

“We ran across a competing product at a conference,” Anderson said, “and the idea of Application Performance Management (APM) piqued our interest.” Anderson evaluated the competition, but ultimately decided that they either incurred too much overhead on his application or did not provide enough visibility into the application’s memory utilization. “For one of the features we really needed, which was memory monitoring, the competitors’ products would freeze our app for 3-4 seconds at a time and that is not acceptable in a production environment.”

Then he found AppDynamics. “We found that AppDynamics gives us the information we need to solve our problems without the performance impact,” Anderson said. During the evaluation, Anderson discovered a memory leak that had been troubling his team for some time. “We used to have to restart servers periodically to avoid running out of memory... our app is now much more stable than before.”

Benefits

With AppDynamics, Anderson and his team now have both wide and deep visibility into their applications. Now Anderson can see where external URL calls occur and which ones are slowing down the performance of his customers’ applications. “One of our customers was having some performance problems, and we found out they were hosting a lot of content at Amazon, where an unresponsive server was causing their website performance to degrade tremendously,” he said. “Without AppDynamics’ ability to trace external calls, we would have required much more time to isolate the problem.”

As a result, Anderson’s favorite feature of AppDynamics is its ability to automatically map an application’s topology and visualize how the components communicate. ”We can easily see what is communicating with what, and how everything is connecting together,” he said. “AppDynamics has helped us tremendously in tracking down the remote URL calls that are talking to websites that are either slow or down.”

Anderson and his team no longer have to spend as much time troubleshooting these performance problems. “Before deploying AppDynamics, it would usually take a systems engineer and a developer several hours or days to get to the root of a difficult problem,” Anderson said. “With AppDynamics, when we run into problems like this we usually track them down in less than an hour.”

With AppDynamics, Anderson and his team can spend less time troubleshooting applications and more time on other functions of their jobs. “AppDynamics is very, very fast. It gives us so much insight into what’s actually going on with the application, from the diagnostic as well as the memory utilization perspective,” Anderson said.

And finally—getting started wasn’t a problem. “We were up and running with AppDynamics in an hour,” Anderson said. “And we continue to use the solution ongoing, in production, with the same ease of use.”